Chemical communication between bacteria and between bacteria and the bacteriophage (phage) viruses that prey on them can shape the outcomes of phage-bacterial encounters. Quorum sensing (QS) is a bacterial cell-to-cell communication process that promotes collective undertaking of group behaviors. QS relies on the production, release, accumulation, and detection of signal molecules called autoinducers. Phages can exploit QS-mediated communication to manipulate their hosts and maximize their own survival. In the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the LasI/R QS system induces the RhlI/R QS system, and in opposing manners, these two systems control the QS system that relies on the autoinducer called PQS. A P. aeruginosa DlasI mutant is impaired in PQS synthesis, leading to accumulation of the precursor molecule HHQ, and HHQ suppresses growth of the P. aeruginosa DlasI strain. We show that, in response to a phage infection, the P. aeruginosa DlasI mutant reactivates QS, which, in turn, restores pqsH expression, enabling conversion of HHQ into PQS. Moreover, downstream QS target genes encoding virulence factors are induced. Additionally, phage-infected P. aeruginosa DlasI cells transiently exhibit superior growth compared to uninfected cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- quorum sensing